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August 17, 2011

Scott Stallings

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Scott Stallings who is joining us, currently number 30 in the FedExCup standings as we are just here right on the eve of the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
Scott, first of all, thanks for joining us.
SCOTT STALLINGS: Thank you, guys, for having me.
JOHN BUSH: It's been a few weeks now but congratulations again on your win at the Greenbrier Classic. Can you reflect on that win for us and how that your life has changed then?
SCOTT STALLINGS: Well, I mean, you took the words right out of my mouth. My life has definitely changed. It's been pretty hectic the last couple of weeks. It's nice, I'm off this week, didn't play Wyndham, getting ready for the Playoffs and taking care of a few things before the Playoffs begin.
Obviously being a member of the PGA TOUR is a dream come true, I've wanted to play golf for a living as long as I can remember; and to win and to have an opportunity to win and come through and be successful and to be considered a champion on the PGA TOUR is something that you've really got to take a step back and really think about.
It's been a huge blessing. Had an unbelievable amount of support, everywhere I've gone, both in Akron and at the PGA. It's been incredible, just the people that keep up with golf and were unbelievably supportive of me at both tournaments, and look forward to playing in Jersey next week and I can't wait to get up to Boston for sure.
JOHN BUSH: Keegan Bradley who won the PGA Championship, talked about how excited he was to be here in just a couple of weeks at the Deutsche Bank Championship. As a fellow Massachusetts native, talk about the importance of playing well at that tournament.
SCOTT STALLINGS: Well, I mean, you want to key on all of the Playoff events and in a sense you don't want to act like you're overlooking Barclays because that's a great event and you look forward to playing there next week.
But being born around the Boston area, born in Wooster and family all through the New England coast, it's kind of something that we've circled on the schedule and definitely something we look forward to being a part of through the year.
And to -- once I won, I knew I was secure through most of the Playoffs and I was going to have an opportunity to play there. That something I was ecstatic about to be there. I love Boston, I like the golf course; I love the fact that the Yankees are going to be in town that week. And so I had the opportunity to get to go out there and play in front of a bunch of family who don't get a chance to see me play very often. So looking forward to a great week.

Q. Talk about the goals, I heard you talk about kind of the goals you started with this year and kind of, you know, how you surpassed pretty much everything. Talk to me a little bit about that and kind of, you know, what this year has been for you.
SCOTT STALLINGS: It's definitely been a year of opposites. The beginning of the year, I was so pumped to get out to the West Coast and play and start my PGA TOUR season, and you know, I got off to a terrible start, missed my first five cuts. I hated golf, hated life, just wasn't having any fun.
You know, definitely to kind of turn it around -- thank you to the Transitions Championship for giving me an opportunity and my relationship with Kenny Perry; I've keyed on that a lot, and that was the week that kind of turned it around. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot. Had an opportunity to win a golf tournament and definitely kind of spurred things in the right direction for me.
But the goals at the beginning were obviously to keep my card, to secure myself through a good amount of the Playoffs and to play in a major. And to secure myself in a position to where I was going to play in the Masters in 2012; that was the tournament that we kind of keyed on. And we didn't care how we got there. We just knew that if we got there through play in 2011, if we secured ourselves a spot in the 2012 Masters, we would have had a successful year.
And it's kind of funny, you set all of these goals, and it's amazing how fast you can reach them in one week. And I kind of sat back and looked, once Greenbrier was over, I had to reassess and start all over because all of the goals I set were done and the Playoffs had not even begun yet.
So definitely looking forward to having an opportunity to get to Atlanta. Obviously I'm in most of the events for next year, but Atlanta would secure myself in all of the majors and a lot of the big events for next year.

Q. You talked about how special it is to be playing in Massachusetts; how about qualifying for this week in a couple of weeks where, you know, someone like Tiger Woods hasn't.
SCOTT STALLINGS: I was looking at the field last week, I have some buddies this week at Wyndham who are on the bubble, and I wasn't very educated on the FedExCup, who was in, who was out and I kind of was surprised at some of the names.
Obviously I grew up being a huge fan of Tiger and would love to have an opportunity to play in a bunch of tournaments he was a part of. But, yeah, I feel like it means a lot. Feel like when you secure yourself through a portion of the FedExCup, it means you've been rewarded for some type of consistency and some type of good level of play throughout the course of the year.
And you know, it's something that, you know, that is the TOUR's Super Bowl pretty much and something that everyone has on their calendar and everyone would love the opportunity to win.

Q. What did you think about the other Massachusetts guy, Keegan Bradley, winning the PGA Championship?
SCOTT STALLINGS: I love it. We were actually joking about it on the range on Thursday about the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at one of the Red Sox games together, just both of us being diehard Red Sox fans. And I think I got booted after his performance last week, which I mean, he's very, very deserving of it. But I was pumped to see him win. That was great playing.

Q. Congratulations on your win here at Greenbrier Classic. Wanted to talk to you about that final round, especially the playoff, I don't think people will ever forget you sprinting from the green back to the tee. And just sum up your thoughts going in there and maybe some reflection on what it meant to -- that one stroke that you won by, $1 million versus 528, it's pretty big, isn't it.
SCOTT STALLINGS: First of all, let's go with a light jog rather than a sprint. I would like to think my sprint was a little bit faster than that.
But although the final round is kind of how my year has gone. I started out terrible and finished out really strong. Through the whole course, I will never forget after making the birdie putt on the 72nd hole to get in the playoff and the feeling of going back to the tee, you know I felt like a lot of people were cheering for just good golf in general and felt like the whole entire crowd was cheering for me. It was awesome to have those people behind me, and the State of West Virginia was unbelievable crowd and a great host for the week of the Greenbrier Classic and it was pretty incredible to be there.
Obviously the money and all that stuff is great but having the opportunity to win golf tournaments is really kind of what you -- all that stuff will take care of itself.
But the feeling of winning a golf tournament on the PGA TOUR is something I've wanted to do since really as long as I can remember, was probably the most gratifying part.
But realistically for me, the best part of when it was all said and done was having the opportunity to play in Akron the next week and having the best or the best of the best of the world come up to me and congratulate me, and to be considered champion was something I'll never forget.

Q. I don't think a lot of people realize how big it is to do what you did on No. 17, if I remember right, double-bogey --
SCOTT STALLINGS: No, I made a bogey.

Q. Okay. Well, okay, I've got to get that right. There's a big difference. Especially when you win by one stroke. But you knock it in the water and you end up bogeying the hole, and you're having a great back nine and then you bogey that hole. Now, a lot of rookies, a lot of younger guys would crumble and you stayed with it. How big is that towards your progression as a regular player on the TOUR and maybe an eventual major winner?
SCOTT STALLINGS: Well, I feel like through the course of -- you play 72 holes, you're going to have bad holes here and there.
You know, just like I said in my interview when I got done with the tournament, I hit a bad shot and it ended up even worse than it really was. You know, it was a shot that was a little bit right. It actually landed just in the right edge of the fairway right -- left edge of the rough right there on the borderline, kicked straight right, hit the tree and went in the water.
And ultimately I just thought it was in the rough when I walked up there and Jon Brendle from the PGA TOUR told me that it hit the bottom of the tree and went in the water. So it was a bit of a shock at first.
But realistically, the time to feel sorry for yourself is over. The time to hit a shot and try to figure out what you've got to do to finish the golf tournament is really what's at hand. And you know, it's kind of something that my sports psychologist and I kind of keep working on week-in, week-out, kind of worry about the next shot, the next shot, the next shot and that's kind what have my caddie said.
We try to give ourselves opportunity to make a par and when we made bogey on 17, we got up there, it was a perfect number and a shot that I had actually hit a couple of times before throughout the day, 169 yards. Had actually the same exact number on 11, when I made birdie. And so it was the shot that we hit before, had been successful and something that we were able to pull off twice and win the golf tournament.

Q. When you are in that kind of position, and like I said, you were making a pretty good run on the back nine there, when you are in that kind of position, I know there's bad holes here and there, but how often do people come up with bad holes, one hole away from the end of the tournament, when you're in contention? Just seemed like a remarkable -- all of the sports psychology stuff must be working because it seemed like you stayed strong. I thought it was pretty remarkable.
SCOTT STALLINGS: Well, I appreciate that. I think there's what would be considered extenuating circumstances. I made birdie on 16 to tie the lead, and then I have about a 35-minute wait on 17 tee, which is a downwind par 5 with the tee moved up to where if I hit a good drive, I have somewhere -- a long iron into the green and have an opportunity to make another birdie.
But to say that my momentum was stalled would be very accurate.

Q. Are you going to be coming back to the Greenbrier Classic?

Q. Is it kind of hard to -- to not go to the place where you want almost no matter when it falls on the calendar? Because it's July 4 next year.
SCOTT STALLINGS: Absolutely. It will be an incredible event. I'm sure Mr. Justice will make sure it's even better than it was the year before, and definitely, I'll never forget my first win. Hopefully have an opportunity to win many more.
But the Greenbrier is an incredible place. The resort is awesome. The golf course got better every single day that the tournament went on, and it was definitely something that I will be a part of for a while.

Q. I was wondering if you could just talk a little about momentum going into the Playoffs and into Boston. I know that last week was a bit of a tough week for you but looking over your past six or seven tournaments, quite a few Top-30s, Top-25s. Can you just speak a little bit to the importance of momentum going into the Playoffs, these four key events?
SCOTT STALLINGS: Absolutely, pretty key would be an understatement in my opinion. These are the four events. I mean, the majors are huge, World Golf Championships are huge. But I mean, this is kind of the culmination of the entire year and crowning the champion in Atlanta, and obviously $10 million and all of the exemptions and everything that goes along with it.
Obviously having a streak of good play going into the Playoffs is something that everybody strives toward. I feel like a lot of people go for it in different ways.
You know, me, looking forward to taking a week off at the Wyndham, I actually spoke to the tournament director and apologized for taking the week off and he was very gracious and understood, because I originally committed to it a while ago. But you know he definitely understood the opportunity that I had to play the last couple of weeks.
But working towards playing New Jersey next week and then obviously Boston and working towards Chicago and hopefully Atlanta is something that you thrive upon. If you can't get excited to play in those, then you're probably doing the wrong thing.

Q. Specifically, looking at the Deutsche Bank, have you had a chance to get out on that golf course before, or when you head up there the week before Labor Day to get some practice rounds in, will that be sort of your first look at that golf course?
SCOTT STALLINGS: That will be my first look. I've actually been to the course but I've never played it. I was out there at one point right before the tournament was played a few years ago, had some family that lives really close to the golf course, and never had the opportunity to play it. But I'll play both Pro-Ams the Monday and Tuesday of that week, and will have plenty of opportunities to play the course before the tournament starts.
JOHN BUSH: Scott, we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today and we look forward to The Barclays next week and also the week after that, the Deutsche Bank Championship. Play well.

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